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Know your Catjang pea

Know your Catjang pea - Introduction

  • The catjang pea, Vigna unguiculata, var. catjang, is a subspecies of cowpea
  • It is a tropical woody herbaceous plant with showy yellow flowers and flat pods.

Know your Catjang pea - Common names

  • The name is of Dutch origin; katjang, from Malay kachang meaning pea or bean.
  • The catjang pea is also known as Indian CowpeaJerusalem pea and Marble pea.

Know your Catjang pea - Origins

  • The catjang plant is native to Africa, and is an erect densely branched shrubby perennial of Old World tropics. 
  • It now grows in other warm regions, as well. 

Know your Catjang pea - Distribution

  • In the US, it is grown primarily as fodder, but elsewhere is used as a food crop.
  • Catjang is a plant of the East Indies. 
  • This plant is cultivated in Portugal and Italy. 
  • In India, varieties with white, brown and black seeds are cultivated. 
  • In Martinique, the seeds are highly esteemed as an article of food. 
  • In the southern states of the USA, this species has many permanent varieties, such as Red Cowpea. So conspicuous is this species that in some localities it is made to carry the name of all others, all being referred to as the cowpea. 
  • In China, the green pods are used as a vegetable.

Know your Catjang pea - Uses

  • The green shell is either canned or frozen as cooked vegetable. 
  • Dry beans are used as cooked vegetable.

Know your Catjang pea - Nutrition

  • Catjang is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol. 
  • It is also a good source of dietary fibre, protein, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese, and a very good source of folate and magnesium.